This year sees the return of the “Thor” franchise, whose star Chris Hemsworth sees his Hollywood star shine ever brighter as he shows the range and personality that has become a hallmark of his work. The sincerity and passion he brings to his personas is nowhere more apparent than in his work so far in “Thor”‘s title role.
While Helmsworth is a force in his own right, the film also co-stars Natalie Portman, who has distinguished herself in a dizzying myriad of parts over years, ranging some of the most subtle art films of the last two decades (standing out in “Garden State,” “My Blueberry Nights,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” and “Black Swan,” for example), to big-budget comedies like “Your Highness,” to massive blockbusters like the revamped “Star Wars” series.
In this new continuation of the “Thor” series, we find the mythological hero now faced with the prospect of chasing Portman’s character, Jane Foster, into a world called Svartalfveim, while hunting down the villains who have abducted her, in what promises to be an enormous challenge to the protagonist. The possibilities here for narrative exploration of big themes and deep plot points are endless, and the team working on the film are strikingly talented. The key here is going to be acting and storyline, with Hemsworth and Portman undoubtedly standing out with their portrayals of their characters.
But count on fine work also from director Alan Taylor — whose credits include directing jobs on absolutely stellar and revolutionary series such as “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” and “Mad Men” — and the audience can see how Taylor will no doubt be a major pillar here in establishing the film’s cinematic and artistic quality in its own right. Taylor is someone who will know how to deal with epic story lines and tight, intelligent dialogue in such a way that profound quality over corporate fireworks will be the defining characteristic of this work.
With all these ingredients — in addition to big-budget effects and sound — it looks like “Thor: The Dark World” will delight audiences this year. And if all goes to plan, it will no doubt bring new viewers to what is shaping up to be a compelling film dynasty.